Wallace River polar bear dip canceled

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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Icy conditions bring safety into question

WENTWORTH – Just days after giving it the green light, organizers of the annual New Year’s Day polar bear dip into the Wallace River are calling it off.

Carson Dares checks the ice in the Wallace River in front of his Hunter Road camp. He was forced to cancel this year's annual Polar Bear Dip due to icy conditions underfoot.

Carson Dares blamed icy conditions for the decision, explaining it would have been too dangerous for participants at the event, which is held annually at the family’s Hunter Road camp. It is the first time in 20 years they have had to cancel the dip due to river conditions (a snowstorm five years ago made the road to the camp impassable.)

“Mother Nature beat us this year, but we’ll fight again next year,” said Dares.

The river froze over about a month earlier than normal this year, according to Dares, who cut a hole through the ice last weekend, made the decision to cancel after cutting a second hole on Sunday, discovering that the ice from the first freeze had sunk to the bottom and did not carry down the river.

“It’s just a slippery slope that people would be walking on, and there’s no way we can make it safe,” he said. “We can’t have someone slipping under the ice.”

The event has drawn between 8-25 participants each year, and up to 100 spectators.

awagstaff@citizenrecord.ca

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Geographic location: Wallace River, Hunter Road

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